The other day I mustered up the courage to sit down and finally watch Cowspiracy (Anderson & Kuhn, 2014). I had been avoiding it because I was worried it would be full of graphic images of animal cruelty. I have seen my fair share of these gruesome and horrible video clips, and I knew I had to be in the right mood to subject myself to them again.
The documentary was full of graphic images. But the vast majority of them were not involving animals, but rather our planet. Our beautiful planet full of oceans and rainforests, and mountains, inhabited by thousands of different species, is under attack. And humans are the culprits. The film dives deep into the cold, hard truth behind animal agriculture, and facts don’t lie. Our gluttonous need for animal consumption is obliterating our planet.
I realize that the documentary is based off of US stats, but let’s not kid ourselves, Canada isn’t doing much better in this department. And besides, it’s not about pointing fingers and blaming one country over the other. We can all be trying a little harder to do our part.
My experience of watching this film was one of mixed emotions. I found myself crying at the footage of our degrading rainforests and our oceans being swept clean of all of the organisms living in them. I was yelling at the screen at the reluctance of the environmentalists wanting to answer basic questions. And finally, I found myself triumphantly declaring that I will be doing my part to promote a sustainable lifestyle.
I’ve been a vegetarian now for about 4 years. My journey to vegetarianism began as an effort to break free of my unhealthy relationship with food (that’s another story). It started with veganism, but eventually reverted back to lacto-ovo-pescatarianism (in simpler terms, I ate dairy, eggs, and seafood). Now I’ve recently returned back to my vegan ways due to some digestive issues that I’ve been experiencing.
I have now learned that every meal is a decision to either be kind to the planet and animals living on it, or to support the on-going abuse. Needless to say, the enlightenment that I’ve received from watching Cowspiracy is enough to keep me conscious of my dietary choices. I will no longer be sitting silently around the table, accepting and joking along with the subtle comments from those around me observing my specific questions about the contents of the food I’m ordering. Instead I will be educating anyone willing to listen about the impact of our dietary choices on our planet. Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll be able to get through to at least one person to take a second look at how his/her food choices are playing a role in the bigger picture.
I mean, if it is as simple as deciding to forego an animal-based meal, then why shouldn’t we all just do it? We live in a country where food is plentiful, and we’re not struggling. So why not do our part and choose not based on the gluttonous needs of our tastebuds, but instead based on the impact that we’ll have on the one and only planet we can survive on?